US District Judge Overturns $388 Million Jury Verdict Against Microsoft Corp.

A federal judge vacated one of the most widely reported patent verdicts in history and entered judgment in favor of Fish & Richardson client, Microsoft Corp., in a patent infringement case in U.S. district court in Rhode Island. The plaintiffs in the case, Uniloc Singapore Private Ltd. and Uniloc USA Inc., claimed that Microsoft infringed their patent on software that prevents customers from using software for which they haven’t paid. The case was tried to a jury in April of 2009. After the trial, Microsoft asked the court to overturn the jury’s $388 million verdict, and enter a judgment for Microsoft as a matter of law.

In a 66 page written decision issued on September 29, 2009, U.S. District Judge William Smith wrote that the jury “lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis.” The judge concluded that Microsoft doesn’t infringe Uniloc’s patent.

Frank Scherkenbach, a principal in Fish & Richardson’s Boston and Silicon Valley offices, was lead counsel on the case.